Valentine Gift Project

By Linda Provost

Wow your valentine with one of these easy and elegant presentations.

Cinnamon-stick baskets

Spice up your love's life! You can put one of these baskets together in half an hour with about $7 worth of materials. You'll need a plastic pot the same size as -- or smaller than -- the one your purchased plant comes in, so you can make the basket with the empty pot, then nest your potted plant into it. Using a glue gun, attach cinnamon sticks to the outside of the pot, spaced closely enough so the rim won't poke through the cord once it's wrapped. For 6-inch (wide) pots, I used eight 6-inch sticks. Glue four cinnamon sticks to four "corners," then glue the next four midway between these, making sure the bases of the pot and cinnamon sticks will rest level on a table surface.

How much cord you'll need depends on the cord's thickness: you might need anything from 30 to 40 yards of 2mm-diameter nylon craft cord to three 5-yard spools of knit metallic ribbon. Starting at the base, glue one end of cord to the side of a cinnamon stick opposite the direction you're going to wind in. Wrap the cord around the pot, up past the rim, to within 1/4 inch of the top of the cinnamon sticks. To finish off, wind the cord once around a stick and glue it down. Whenever you need to end a roll and start a new one, glue the ends to the side of a cinnamon stick.

To sweeten the pot, assemble an intriguing package for your love note and plant-care instructions using colored craft wire. Roll your message with shimmery fabric into a tasseled scroll, or wrap it in mylar over a "tootsie" pop (lacquer the stem with several coats of sparkle nail polish or glitter glue) and pair two pops in a circle of tulle, available precut from the craft or fabric store. Back with an iridescent fan folded from a 4-1/2-inch-square origami paper.

Made With A Shade

Love lights! For 4-inch pots and smaller, upside-down lampshades are instant gift wrap. Just snip out the bulb clip, if there is one, with a wire cutter and add: an origami-paper scroll and a bath-oil bead; ivy for fidelity, glass marbles, and -- for evening presentation -- a glow-in-the-dark necklace under the marbles; a wired-ribbon scroll and organdy ribbon; or shredded mylar.

Linda Provost is the former art director of National Gardening.

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